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The Incubator Myth

Liberator Staff photo

There is nothing more demeaning to women than reducing pregnancy to mere incubation or degrading motherhood as drudgery. Our children do not transform us into vehicles or slaves, but into mothers. Why do we regard some of our most unique gifts as burdens? Why do we despise the dazzlingly complex challenges of motherhood as slavery? Where did we learn to fear our bodies and hate our children and call it freedom?

Who told us that to bring little humans into the world, to mother them, teach them, help form their view of the world and send them out into it is somehow a low and unworthy occupation that stands in the way of our living a real life with value? Why did we believe them? What an absurd insult to women who undertake such a weighty and wonderful task to scoff at them and dismiss them as “brood mares”!

There is no myth more anti-woman than the lie that defeating our own biology and attempting to straitjacket it into the closest available approximation of male biology achieves equality. There is nothing egalitarian about forcing womanhood into the mold of manhood. It is a gross admission of a false inferiority to imagine that the fertile and fruitful body of a woman is somehow a limitation to a life of purpose and impact. Our bodies and our children are not our enemies in the war on our womanhood, but our allies.

It infantilizes women to pretend that we are not capable of rising to the challenges (and accompanying joys) inherent to our biology without resorting to resentment, abuse, neglect and abandonment if we are not permitted to murder our offspring. Women are not toddlers. We are fully capable of anticipating outcomes and overcoming obstacles. To demand a license to kill is not to demand trust but to underscore our own untrustworthiness. We cannot claim autonomy by ruthlessly refusing responsibility. We can and must be trusted not to turn on our own children.

Contributed by an abolitionist mother